Election Day 2016

Tuesday, November 01, 2016 12:22 AM
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COMPAC-endorsed candidates win 78 of 85 federal and state election races

by Susan Koontz, JD, CMS General Counsel

A presidential result that surprised even the most accurate pollsters sent a clear message that repudiates the Washington establishment and demonstrates that Americans were yearning for a “change” candidate this year. Both houses of the U.S. Congress remain under Republican control although all of the incumbents in the Colorado congressional delegation, both Republican and Democrat, are headed back to the Capitol.

On the state level, the political climate did not change much. The Senate Republicans maintained their one-seat majority (18-17), while the House Democrats also kept the majority, gaining three seats (37-28). Since the governor wasn’t up for election this cycle, state politics should remain fairly consistent with the last two sessions.

Colorado voters approved the ballot initiative to allow for physician-assisted death and the amendment to make it more difficult to alter the state constitution, while defeating the proposed tax increase on tobacco products and the amendment to create a health care cooperative to replace most other health insurance.

Colorado Medical Political Action Committee (COMPAC)-endorsed candidates fared very well in the election with 78 of 85 federal and state endorsed candidates winning. This is largely due to a candidate briefing and interview process that is a model for professional and trade associations.

Local physicians, working with CMS and component society staff, brief candidates on medicine’s priority issues. Candidates receive a “Candidate Briefing Document” well before the interview that lays out the background on each issue: Colorado’s stable liability climate, health care reform, managed care, scope of practice, etc. The CMS lobby team is available to answer questions about the issues, and local physicians conduct the interview in the candidates’ district.

This process provides for two-way dialogue. Physicians and lobbyists get to hear how a candidate thinks about issues. The candidate learns about the passion that physicians have for issues affecting patients and practice.

After the interview of both candidates is complete, physicians vote to recommend the endorsement of one of them to the COMPAC board. Occasionally, the local physicians recommend staying out of the race.

COMPAC’s goal is to help all of our elected leaders build relationships with their local medical community leaders, and understand that physicians in the community care and are engaged.

Posted in: Colorado Medicine | Initiatives | Advocacy


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